The ZIMBABWE Situation
An extensive and up-to-date website containing news, views and links related to ZIMBABWE - a country in crisis
Return to INDEX page
Please note: You need to have 'Active content' enabled in your IE browser in order to see the index of articles on this webpage

SA deports nearly 43 000 Zimbabweans

Saturday, 24 November 2012 00:00

NEARLY 43 000 Zimbabweans have been deported from South Africa since October
last year for living in that country without proper documentation. The
deportations started in October last year following the expiry of the July
31, 2011 deadline for the Zimbabweans to regularise their stay there.
The amnesty ran from May 5 2009 to July 31, last year.

Over 275 000 applications for Zimbabweans wishing to regularise their stay
in South Africa were processed during that time, while several others were
turned down.
More applications are still pending.

Police officer commanding Beitbridge district Chief Superintendent Lawrence
Chinhengo said yesterday that they were receiving an average of between 200
and 300 deportees from South Africa per day.

Most of the illegal immigrants, he said, being repatriated from Gauteng and
Limpopo provinces.
Chief Supt Chinhengo said the highest number of deportations were in June
when they received 4 460.

He said they had noted that the number of deportations was fluctuating on
daily basis as they had received 2 967 people in October.

Chief Supt Chinhengo raised concern that some of the deportees were
resorting to crime in the border town when they became stranded soon after
their release from the International Organisation for Migration reception

At the IOM centre, the deportees are offered food and transport to their
homes, but 40 percent of them shun the assistance opting to quickly go back
to South Africa.

During a recent visit to Beitbridge by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee
on Defence and Home Affairs, IOM head of programmes Mrs Natalia Perez said
the reception centre has the capacity to carry between 1 000 and 1 500
people at any given time.

Chief Supt Chinhengo said police from both countries had increased patrols
along the border with a view to reducing cases of irregular migration.
There are over 200 illegal crossing points along the Limpopo River covering
an area of over 300 kilometres.

“Patrols have resulted in a 76 percent decline of robbery cases along the
boundary line,” said Chief Supt Chinhengo.

“We also want to warn members of the public to desist from irregular
migration as they risk being mugged by criminals along the Limpopo River.
“We will continue to maintain a strong presence so that we weed out unruly
elements along our border line.”

Many Zimbabweans flocked to South Africa at the height of the country’s
economic problems caused by illegal sanctions imposed by Western countries.
Many of them did not have proper documents and used illegal routes.
Although some returned as the situation got better in Zimbabwe, others opted
to stay put, forcing the South African authorities to deport them.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

SADC to Push For Zimbabwe Reforms Despite Regional Conflicts

Blessing Zulu, Gibbs Dube

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) will not be distracted
from democratic reforms in Zimbabwe by regional upheavals in the Democratic
Republic of Congo (DRC), Mozambique, South Africa and Madagascar, says SADC
executive secretary, Tomaz Salomao.

However, groups like the Brussels-based International Crisis Group are
already complaining that SADC, the guarantor of Zimbabwe’s Global Political
Agreement, is failing to enforce implementation of the power-sharing deal it
brokered in 2008.

Human rights groups fear that President Robert Mugabe may take advantage of
the conflict in DRC and other regional issues to stall democratic reforms.

Mozambique, the current chair of SADC, is facing its own challenges as the
opposition RENAMO is threatening civil war, and SADC appointed mediator to
Harare, President Jacob Zuma of South Africa, is facing labour unrest and a
tough re-election bid.

Mr. Salomao, who pledged to help Zimbabwe prepare for elections next year,
said SADC will push for reforms in Harare and denied that Mozambique is a
cause for concern.

Meanwhile, pressure may be mounting on Zimbabwe to join other regional
powers and intervene in the DRC.

A high-level source said President Mugabe, who is in Kampala for the 16th
Common Market for Southern Africa (COMESA) summit, will meet other regional
leaders on the sidelines to discuss possible intervention.

However, regional security expert, retired Zimbabwe army colonel Martin
Rupiya of the Institute of Security Studies, said it’s too soon to tell if
intervention is likely.

He said because South Africa has boots on the ground in the DRC and SADC
seems to support intervention, it’s possible that Harare might join a
regional force as it did in 1998.

Rupiya also said a regional conflict could escalate from fighting over

In a similar development, Zimbabwean truckers ferrying goods to the DRC say
traders could lose billions of dollars in potential revenue if the conflict
in the Congo spreads.

That seems a very real possibility, following the fall of the eastern town
of Goma earlier this week to M23 rebels, who said they would next march
toward Kinshasa.

Despite rebel threats, the DRC government insists that peace will prevail in
the country.

Truckers said though the situation is tense but calm in the nation’s
Lubumbashi border area, they fear that if the Congolese economy is further
disrupted, their livelihoods may be in jeopardy.

One trucker, who asked to be identified as Baba vaNacio, said the political
situation in DRC is uncertain.

More than 1,000 trucks, mostly from Zimbabwe and South Africa, reportedly go
through the Lubumbashi border post every day, ferrying goods such as mining
equipment, unprocessed minerals, beef and chicken.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe takes DRC backseat

24/11/2012 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

ZIMBABWE will not be sending troops to the Democratic Republic of Congo
(DRC) over President Joseph Kabila’s refusal to stump up US$1 billion for
the country’s losses during the 1998 war.

Zimbabwe was part of a multi-national force also made up of troops from
Namibia and Angola who defended the DRC during the Great Lakes war which
raged for four years.

Now M23 rebels, disgruntled by Kabila’s leadership, have threatened to march
on the capital after seizing the city of Goma.
Pressure will be on SADC states to come to a fellow member’s aid, but
Zimbabwe is unlikely to take the initiative this time over differences with
Kabila’s government, the Zimbabwe Independent reported on Friday citing

The paper said “since 2000, Zimbabwe has been demanding about US$1 billion
from the DRC for military expenditures incurred during the war”, but “its
demands have been resisted and ignored”.

Zimbabwe’s economy tanked shortly after the DRC excursion. The war was just
one of several factors cited, with unbudgeted compensation for independence
war veterans and land invasions in 2000 contributing factors.

Zimbabwe would now “only act within SADC, the African Union (AU) and United
Nations (UN) frameworks”, the Independent cited a defence source as saying.

Regional leaders met in Uganda on Saturday in the latest summit intended to
find a solution to the crisis.
Uganda, whose leader is acting as a mediator, has had its credibility
tarnished by revelations in a United Nations report that some of its
military officials actively support M23 rebels. Rwanda is also accused of
supporting the rebels. Both countries deny the charges.

Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki and Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete also
attended the Kampala summit, which is being held under the auspices of a
regional bloc called the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region,
or ICGLR, of which Congo is a member.

A previous summit of the ICGLR endorsed the creation of a "neutral
international force" to police eastern Congo. Tanzania has already offered
to contribute some of the 4,000 troops needed, but the force's mandate is
not yet clear and funding remains a problem. Ugandan diplomats said regional
leaders were likely to talk in detail about the force.

Kabila was in Uganda for the talks Saturday, but Rwandan President Paul
Kagame was absent. Ugandan officials said M23 representatives were not
invited to the summit and denied reports that Jean-Marie Runiga, the M23's
political leader, was in the country for separate negotiations with the
Ugandan government.

President Mugabe was also in Uganda for a COMESA summit, but was not
involved in the ICGLR talks because Zimbabwe is not a member.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Coltart slams Moyo over Selous Scouts 'slur'

24/11/2012 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

EDUCATION Minister David Coltart has angrily rejected claims by Zanu PF
politburo member Jonathan Moyo that he is a former member of the Selous

Moyo, a former Information Minister, has referred to Coltart repeatedly as
an ex-member of the Rhodesian special forces unit responsible for
unspeakable atrocities during the 1970s independence war.

It is an allegation Moyo made again in a new article published in the
state-run Herald newspaper last week as he accused Coltart of irrational
criticism of a US$20 million Zanu PF scheme to dole-out farming inputs to
some 800,000 farmers, “in typical Rhodie fashion”.

Moyo charged: “Stung by the self-evident policy significance and positive
impact of the Presidential agricultural input scheme which is in fact not
new as it has been running for years now, Welshman Ncube’s MDC unleashed
David Coltart – a former Rhodesian Selous Scout who by his own admission in
his own website only started having an interest in human rights and good
governance after independence in 1983 – to attempt an impossible task of
trashing the scheme.”

But Coltart strongly refutes the charge, accusing Moyo of being “desperate”.
The truth, Coltart says, is that he served as a member of the British South
Africa Police (BSAP) – the regular police force in colonised Zimbabwe – for
two years as part of compulsory national service.

“It is always such a relief to be in Jonathan Moyo's bad books. Comforting
to know one must be doing something right,” he said.
“Dear old Jonathan must be desperate – he of all people knows that I was
never a Selous Scout but he has to roll that falsehood out again.

“I hope Jonathan will also say I played prop for Rhodesia Rugby – he may as
well because it is just as unlikely as me being a Selous Scout!”

Coltart said Moyo was trying hard to attach a stigma to him in a bid to
torpedo his political fortunes – but had so far failed.
“Jonathan Moyo is viewed by all rational Zimbabweans as an unprincipled
political chameleon who cannot be trusted. This allegation [about Selous
Scots] has been made time and time again against me for over 12 years
without any damage to either my reputation (such as it is) or political
prospects,” Coltart said.

“Indeed in 2002, the allegation was contained in [Robert] Mugabe's
manifesto – something with far more gravitas and spread than Jonathan's
latest article. My election in 2005 and 2008 is proof that the slur hasn't
damaged me politically.”

Coltart said he was hesitant to sue Moyo because he had “an inherent dislike
for defamation suits because they can perpetuate, feed and enlarge a
defamatory statement”.

“Jonathan's statement is so ridiculously false and tainted that I am not
going to give it the seriousness is doesn't deserve by wasting legal fees on
an action that will take several years to resolve and which a biased
electronic media will latch on to fuel the falsehood”, Coltart said.

“It may seem curiously naive but at the core of my belief system is that the
good Lord knows the truth and that is all I have to fear. Jesus was
slandered and never had the opportunity to resort to the courts to redeem
his reputation, something he didn't actually care about.”

On Saturday, Moyo was unrepentant when we put Coltart’s denials to him.
In an e-mailed response, Moyo said: "It is notable that the intended but
hopeless strength of Coltart's predictable denial is his use of a patently
dehumanising term to label me a 'chameleon' in the same way Hutus
dehumanised their critics in Rwanda as 'cockroaches'. But of course the use
of dehumanising labels is very typical of Rhodies like Coltart to whom
blacks have been all sorts of things including 'kaffirs', 'baboons' and
'goons' among a host of dehumanising labels.

"Maybe Coltart would care to tell us whether cockroaches, chameleons,
baboons and goons have human rights and if so what they are. Like any Rhodie
who served in any organ of the brutal Rhodesian security forces and whose
politics today are funded from Europe, America and the White Commonwealth,
Coltart is just a fake democrat whose intolerance and hatred of African
nationalism and independence is dramatised by the fact that he discovered
human rights, the rule of law and good governance only in 1983.

"Otherwise, I maintain that Coltart is a former member of the Rhodesian
Selous Scouts. This is not an insult but a description of a historical fact
whose devil is in the detail and is based on the public record. Any Rhodie
who served any organ of Rhodesian forces was a Selous Scout in letter or
spirit or both and so the difference was in detail and not in orientation or
purpose. In any case, the Selous Scouts were the lynchpin of the brutal and
inhuman Rhodesian security system which Coltart by his own admission served
as a BSAP patrol officer, not desk but patrol officer between 1975 and 1977.

"This was a satanic period which was the height of Rhodesian atrocities
committed by all Rhodesian security forces without exception including
Coltart's BSAP whose abbreviation was taken to mean 'Bambo Satan Ari Pano'
by countless Zimbabweans who were brutalised and dehumanised by BSAP patrol
officers like Coltart whose number terrorised blacks while on patrol and in
interrogation, detention centres and police cells and who were undeniably
Selous Scout contacts, link points and informants.

"It is foolish for Coltart to try and give the impression that serving the
BSAP in Rhodesia those brutal years between 1975 and 1977 was like serving
the International Committee of the Red Cross. And the fact that Colart and
others like him have been elected to Parliament despite their sickening
Rhodesian history is no recommendation at all but simply dramatises how the
political situation in our country has been poisoned and corrupted and why
it must and will be corrected come rain or shine and sooner rather than

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Chombo, Masunda defend purchase of new cars

Saturday, 24 November 2012 11:42

HARARE - Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo yesterday defended Harare
City Council’s recent decision to buy top-of-the-range vehicles for two
senior directors saying it was noble.

Two weeks ago council resolved to buy two vehicles for town clerk Tendai
Mahachi and Josephine Ncube, the chamber secretary.

The vehicles will cost the cash-strapped municipality close to $350 000.

Chombo told a media briefing at his offices the purchase of the vehicles is
part of the contractual obligations the city has on the two directors.

“Do you want your mayor and his town clerk to drive a truck which is
unreliable? He must drive a good vehicle which cost more than what other
directors are driving,” Chombo said.

Harare mayor, Muchadeyi Masunda, who was present at the press conference,
came out in full defence of the council decision saying Mahachi and Ncube
are entitled to the new wheels.

“We must motivate our employees so they can do better, in developing cities.
The capital city is the second-largest revenue generating entity from
government,” Masunda said.

He however, said the purchase of the vehicles will only happen after council
acquires a new fleet of refuse trucks.

According to council minutes approved two weeks ago, Mahachi will get a
Toyota Land Cruiser V8 valued at $190 000 from Mike Harris and Ncube will
soon be driving a Jeep Grand Cherokee valued at $117 000 and funds are
available for the purchase of the two vehicles.

The purchase of the two vehicles will be done without going to tender — a
possible violation of section 211 of the Urban Council’s Act which states
that any procurement by a local authority valued at more than $11 000 should
go for public tender.

The purchase also comes as Mahachi’s contract is due to expire after running
for a closed four years.
According to his contract, it is a performance-based agreement which he
signed in 2007 when Sekesai Makwavarara was the mayor of Harare.

His contract states he should get a new vehicle after every four years of
service with a right to buy the one he was using previously.

He joined council in 2007 as town clerk on a four-year contract.

Masunda said Mahachi’s contract was still valid and due process will be
followed if renewal was to be done. “There are councillors who are obsessed
with contract matters, I am time and again requested by councillors to
discuss Mahachi’s contract.

“They come and ask me —when am I going to deal with this director’s
contract? It is wrong,” said Masunda.

Residents groups have threatened to demonstrate at town house if council
does not reverse its decision to splash money on the new non-revenue
vehicles. - Xolisani Ncube

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Chimanikire under fire for defending Chombo's vast wealth

By Fungai Kwaramba, Staff Writer
Saturday, 24 November 2012 11:42

HARARE - Deputy minister of Mines and Mining Development Gift Chimanikire is
under fire from his party for publicly defending his boss, Obert Mpofu on
the source of his wealth.

Chimanikire told a diamond conference review breakfast meeting in Harare on
Wednesday that Mpofu has been unfairly accused of looting diamonds wealth
saying the minister of Mines made his fortune through his sweat.

Douglas Mwonzora, MDC spokesperson, said the party is demanding an
explanation from Chimanikire as he “does not have the capacity to determine
the wealth that is in the hands of Mpofu.”

“What Chimanikire said does not represent the MDC,” Mwonzora said.

“As far as the MDC is concerned, Obert Mpofu must prove his innocence over
his acquisitions which he is now using for programmes that are tantamount to

Mwonzora said Chimanikire is trying to “provide flattery to Mpofu” but does
not have the “ability nor means” to determine sources of Mpofu’s wealth.

“It is still early to say what measures will be taken against Chimanikire
but he will be called to the party to explain himself,” said Mwonzora.

Mwonzora said any person who goes against the party’s stance has to explain.

“There is no one who is above the law. If someone makes a statement that
goes against the party then they must explain.

“In the case of Chimanikire, he has to tell the party what he meant,” said

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zanu PF hall of shame in limbo

By Fungai Kwaramba, Staff Writer
Saturday, 24 November 2012 11:42

HARARE - Factionalism and a lack of financial resources stand in the way of
the completion of Zanu PF’s multi-million dollar Hall of Shame in Gweru
ahead of the party’s conference due in two weeks.

President Robert Mugabe’s party has embarked on a massive offensive to
mobilise funds in order to complete its multi-million dollar hall while
factions opposed to Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa are also throwing
spanners in the project, the Daily News can reveal.

As of last week when the Daily News visited Gweru, the Hall of Shame was far
from complete although some workers at the site insisted that it would be
completed by the time the conference takes place.

However, other workers doubted if the conference hall would be completed on

The Daily News named it the Hall of Shame as it will gobble at least $6
million at a time when more than two million Zimbabweans are facing imminent
starvation. It is also suspected that the construction of the Hall of Shame
is being funded through illicit diamond deals.

This week, Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa all but
confirmed the crisis at the Hall of Shame while speaking to the state media.

He said: “I personally had the privilege to look at it (convention centre)
alone. I feel the people of Midlands deserve lots of praise,” he said.

“This could not have been done in this short time. Because it is here, we
are determined to hold our conference here in honour of the good work that
has been done so far.

“Whether it is ready or not (to host the conference) we have decided to hold
our conference here because the work that has been done here already
requires that we hold our conference here.

“There is only one word which anybody can use to describe the convention
centre and that is the centre is very excellent. It has been very well done
within a very short space of time.”

To complete the conference hall which is being built 15km from the City of
Gweru, Zanu PF is now coercing members of the public to chip in amid
indications that the $6 million budgeted for the construction has already
been exhausted.

Information gleaned from top Zanu PF officials shows that Mnangagwa is
pushing hard for the completion of the controversial hall but there are some
Zanu PF factions who are reportedly working behind the scenes to ensure that
it is not completed on time.

They hope to use this to settle personal scores with Mnangangwa in the fight
to replace Mugabe.

The Hall of Shame, along the Gweru-Mvuma Road, includes offices for the
presidium, a giant stage, a 5 000-seater convention hall, a state-of-the-art
public address system and other devices and amenities to carry the party’s
“very, very important visitors” into the five-day conference that opens on
December 4.

But now with the conference just two weeks away, Zanu PF is racing against
time amid revelations that the party coffers are dry.

While denying that Zanu PF was in a financial crisis, Rugare Gumbo, the
party’s spokesperson expressed optimism that the project would be completed
before the conference.

“I think we will be able to complete the project before the conference. We
have been assured that construction will be completed before December 4,”
he said.

Gumbo added: “We have the money that is why we are building that hall.”

Notwithstanding Gumbo’s denial, events of the past week show that Zanu PF is
panicking as the date of the conference draws nearer.

Battling to find its footing, Zanu PF this week reconstituted its
fundraising committee.

Gumbo told journalists in Harare on Wednesday that Mutasa, was now the new
chairperson of the committee which is on a begging mission ahead of the

Goodson Nguni, the coordinator of the fundraising committee, said the party
is raising money for accommodation and hotels.

“We are raising money for accommodation and transportation as is always the
tradition and nothing more,” said Nguni.

With stakes high to succeed Mugabe, factions opposed to Mnangagwa are not
supporting the project materially as is often the case with previous

Insiders say workers at the monstrous conference hall have not been paid for
more than four weeks and were recently forced back to work by Mutasa when he
toured the project two weeks ago.

Companies owned by Zanu PF are reeling from financial problems and most of
them are operating below capacity leading to civil society organisations and
the MDC formations to conclude that diamond money is keeping Zanu PF afloat.

Just like during the 1980s, people are being asked to chip in with any
amounts but times have changed and the former ruling party is no longer as
popular among the masses who find it difficult to have a single meal a day.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Construction of 'Zvimba Paradise' Stokes Controversy

Chris Gande

The construction in Zvimba of a presidential state house, parliament
building, a V-I-P villa with five star luxury hotels and a shopping mall all
accessed by a massive freeway has stoked controversy as questions arise over
the funding for the project.

Zvimba is president Robert Mugabe’s rural home.

According to the independent Newsday newspaper, the Local Government
Ministry, which is spearheading the project, on Thursday unveiled a video
detailing the construction described as the Sandton of Zimbabwe, referring
to the luxury city of Sandton in South Africa.

The video, entitled 'Parliament: The centre of national government and
epicentre of satelite city' clearly shows the construction of a parliament
buidling surrounded by recreational parks and government offices.

What is not clear - at least to the other partners in the ruling coalition -
is how the project began and sources of funding.

Public Works Minister Joel Gabhuza, who is also deputy spokesman for the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) wing of Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai, said his ministry is unaware of the project.

VOA Studio was unable to reach Local Government Minister, Ignatius Chombo,
for comment.

Early this year, leader of the other MDC faction, Welshman Ncube, suggested
that the new parliament be built in Bulawayo but this was spurned on the
fact that there was no money.

But spokesman for his party, Nhlanhla Dube told Studio 7 that the new
construction shows double standards.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zifa to pay whistleblowers

The Zimbabwe Football Association has gone tough on match fixing and will
reward whistleblowers who lead to the conviction of match fixers at level of
football in Zimbabwe.

by Stanley Makesa

Zifa Chief Executive Officer, Jonathan Mashingaidze, says the association is
setting aside some funds to bankroll the initiative which he believes will
completely eradicate match fixing in the country.

“Match fixing still exists in Zimbabwe. As Zifa, we are introducing a fund
to reward whistleblowers who will lead to the perpetrators,” said

The Zifa supremo said the reward would be presented to the whistleblower as
soon as Zifa were satisfied that the information supplied was true.

The football controlling body is of the conviction that there is match
fixing in the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League and the first division,
with the association’s President, Cuthbert Dube coming out in the open that
they will not rest until this practice was gotten rid off.

“There is match-fixing in the PSL. There is match fixing in the first
division. Let me warn you, that Zifa will not rest until this is system is
done with,” Dube is on record as saying, also warning referees that Zifa
will also come hard on this section of the game as well.

Zifa has just concluded investigations into the Asiagate scandal in which
Zimbabwe national team players and officials were found guilty of receiving
large sums of money to throw away matches in favour of an Asian betting

Some of the players and officials have since received life bans, others have
been banned for periods from two to 10 years, while former national team
coach Norman Mapeza has been banned for six months.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Rahman Gumbo steps down as Zimbabwe coach

24 November 2012

Rahman Gumbo has resigned as coach of Zimbabwe amid speculation that he was
set to be sacked.
The Zimbabwe Football Association says his replacement will be named on
He departs a month after the Warriors failed to qualify for next year's
Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa.
Zimbabwe lost to Angola on the away goals rule in the final qualifying round
after winning the first leg 3-1 in Harare.
They conceded two goals in the first 10 minutes of their return match in
Luanda and went out after the 3-3 aggregate draw.
Gumbo had been in the job since January when he took over from Norman
Mapeza, who was suspended as he was investigated his alleged role in the
country's long-running match-fixing saga.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

ZCTF Report - Retraction & Apology

Only after the last tree has been cut down.
Only after the last river has been poisoned.
Only after the last fish has been caught.
Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten.
Cree Indian Prophecy
24th November 2012


Last month we circulated a report concerning the destruction of wetlands in Harare. In that report we stated that Ken Sharpe in conjunction with an international Christian organisation and Kentucky Fried Chicken intends to build a conference facility and theme park on wetlands in Meyrick Park and an enormous shopping centre on wetlands in Borrowdale. These statements were based on information which we were given by a source whom we considered on past experience to be reliable. However, we have since been informed by Kentucky Fried Chicken that it has no involvement whatsoever in the plans to develop the wetlands in Meyrick Park and Borrowdale.

On receipt of this advice from Kentucky Fried Chicken we went back to the source of the information and he was unable to back up the information he had previously given us with any evidence. We accept that Kentucky Fried Chicken has no involvement in the plans to develop the Meyrick Park and Borrowdale wetlands.

We therefore retract the allegation previously made against Kentucky Fried Chicken and are sending out this report to correct the erroneous information which we previously published. We apologise sincerely to Kentucky Fried Chicken and regret any embarrassment caused by the incorrect report.

Johnny Rodrigues
Chairman for Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force
Landline: 263 4 336710
Mobile: 263 712 603 213
The Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force relies soley on public donations. Your donation can help to preserve the wildlife in Zimbabwe. If you would like to assist, please contact us.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

A long time coming

November 24, 2012, 8:28 am

Dear Family and Friends,

Two unexpected but very welcome developments occurred this week, reviving
flagging spirits and giving hope that maybe justice can return to Zimbabwe.
The first came in the form of a ruling from our Supreme Court. It had been
a very long time coming but at last the excommunicated Anglican Bishop
Nolbert Kunonga was told that he was not entitled to control and possess
Anglican Church properties that he had been claiming and occupying since
2007. The Supreme Court Judges found that Mr Kunonga had withdrawn from the
Anglican church to form his own institution and therefore could not hold on
to Anglican Church properties.

‘Pack and Go,’ were the headlines on one newspaper and they were words that
many thousands of people, and not only Anglicans, had been waiting to hear
for five years. No one had ever really understood, let alone believed that
Mr Kunonga had been allowed to first hold services in the Anglican churches
and then take them over altogether. With shock we watched Anglicans holding
their services under trees, in tents and in private homes because their
churches had been taken over by Mr Kunonga. Then we watched in disbelief as
Anglican priests and their families were evicted from church houses, and
then in horror we saw Mr Kunonga and his followers take over Anglican
orphanages and evict the children.

Justice was a long time coming and every day since the Supreme Court ruling
all eyes have been on Anglican churches and properties. At the time of
writing there is no sign that the Anglican Church in my home town is being
vacated by Mr Kunonga’s people. For the past year this landmark church
situated less than a block from the centre of the town has been turned into
a school. In the church courtyard, sitting on low walls and under shaded
veranda’s children have been receiving lessons. It’s a similar situation in
many Anglican churches which Mr Kunonga took over and then rented out to
other organisations. In the days following the Supreme Court ruling, horrors
have started to be exposed. The Anglican Harare diocese secretary said that
they had found many of their churches had been abused, some even turned
into brothels. In one instance we heard there had been ‘widespread sexual
abuse’ going on in an orphanage taken over by Mr Kunonga’s supporters. The
Anglicans say that as soon as their properties are vacated they will be
holding cleansing ceremonies across the diocese.

The second welcome development came from the Ivory Coast where the African
Commission on Human and People's Rights were meeting. ‘Human rights history
made as African Commission declares Zimbabwean farmers’ case admissible,’
was the headline of the Afriforum press release. After African Heads of
State suspended the SADC Tribunal in August 2011 all avenues had been closed
for individuals, like Zimbabwean farmers, who had had failed to get justice
from the courts in their own countries. Left with nowhere to go and no one
who would listen to us, the African Commission picked up the baton. They
ruled that the complaint lodged with it on behalf of Zimbabwean farmers Luke
Tembani and Ben Freeth against 14 heads of state of SADC countries was
admissible. Afriforum said: ‘Freeth and Tembani’s legal team now have 60
days to make further submissions on the merits of their complaint, after
which the Commission will consider the complaint.’

History was made when justice finally came for Anglicans in Zimbabwe this
week and at the same time a small flicker of hope was revived for farmers –
maybe we too will also see justice one day; we have waited so long. Until
next time, thanks for reading, love cathy.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP


November 23, 2012, 4:23 pm

Many, perhaps the majority of Zimbabweans are Christians and Zimbabwean
Anglicans cannot have been indifferent to the news coming out of the UK this
week. The decision by the Anglican church not to appoint women bishops has
led to a great deal discussion and media coverage. All the signs had been
that the Anglican church as a whole would support the appointment of women
bishops when they already have women priests. The Church of England is the
established church of the country but that does not mean political influence
is used in the same way as it is in Zimbabwe where Nolbert Kunonga, the
defrocked Anglican priest, has openly declared his loyalty to Robert Mugabe
and appears to have the support of the partisan police force. The Police Act
specifically bars police officers from joining in active politics but that
does not prevent police officers, such as Chief Superintendent Mandikapa,
from actively campaigning against Morgan Tsvangirai and, it is alleged,
using police resources in the process. That is not the sort of overt
political interference that operates in the UK so it is unlikely that the
issue of women bishops will be of concern to the British police unless the
law is broken. Women priests have been ordained in the UK since 1994, though
it remains a contentious issue and not all Anglicans support the ordination
of women. There are women bishops in several Commonwealth countries and the
US, so it seems strange that the ‘mother church’ in the UK should be so
clearly out of step on this issue. In this century of equality for all, such
a backward step means the Anglican church “has a lot of explaining to do” as
the current Archbishop, Rowan Williams said. All this may seem rather
irrelevant to Zimbabwean Anglicans who have problems of their own in the
shape of the self-appointed Bishop Kunonga who is still laying claim to the
cathedral in Harare despite losing his case in the Supreme court and being
ordered to return all the church property he has appropriated over the past
five years. In the course of his various ‘church grabs’ the ex-communicated
Kunonga has run up enormous bills for utilities etc. and it seems likely
that he will come face to face with the police over these unpaid bills. Will
Kunonga be able to call on Robert Mugabe for support? The two men certainly
seem to have a great deal in common. Kunonga’s homophobic views reflect
Mugabe’s own attitudes on the subject and it is hard to believe that either
of them would support the issue of women bishops- or priests for that
matter. The real test of police impartiality will come if Kunonga defies the
court as he has said he will. He is due to be evicted from the main
cathedral in Harare on December 16th. With commendable Christian charity,
Bishop Gandiya invited Kunonga to join the diocese he leads but the renegade
priest has refused. Meanwhile the properties Kunonga seized are to be
‘cleansed’ which says a lot about the man’s ‘unholy’ influence on everything
he touches. The whole affair is a clear object lesson not to mix politics
and religion. In their desire to garner votes ahead of the elections in
March 2013 Zanu PF will no doubt try to use people like Kunonga who is not
above using the pulpit for political persuasion. However, things are slowly
changing in Zimbabwe and the verdict by a Bulawayo judge to sentence three
Zanu PF killers to ten years each for the murder of an MDC villager gives
reason to hope that people like Kunonga may no longer enjoy the protection
of the police. We live in hope! Yours in the (continuing) struggle Pauline

Back to the Top
Back to Index